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ene. 03. 2023

PDR Research in 2022: Year in Review

As we start 2023, we reflect on another year for our design research institute and what a year it’s been! From international workshops through to adding more team members and developing exciting new projects, our team’s been busy - and 2023 is shaping up to be just as varied and challenging.

So, what happened last year? Well…


The year began with our team putting themselves (bravely) front and centre, and ‘impact’ was our word of the month! Professor Andrew Walters, Director of Research, shared his insights on how we can use User Centred Design (UCD) to develop social impact, whilst Piotr Swiatek, Researcher & Project Manager, explored the methods we can use to see if design has any impact at all, social or otherwise.

With Piotr’s expertise in policy and design, he ended January by sharing his views on how local governments should use design to create policy in this video. This was also the month we were able to share an exclusive 6 month update on our Media Cymru project, as we began planning and recruiting new staff in earnest.


With the Media Cymru project in full swing, we were back with an exploration of the challenges facing the creative industries in Cardiff, a question posed by just one of the workshops conducted as part of the project.

In May, we were happy to welcome Dr Sally Cloke (our new Human Centred Design Assistant Researcher and resident trombone player - who joined us in March) to the team, whilst Ollie Sutcliffe, Design Innovation Specialist regaled us with tales of the Valletta Design Cluster and our recent work helping to improve their outreach capacity within local communities, particularly for the elderly.


As the temperatures crept up, so did thoughts of our environmental impact. Covering everything from the misconception that ‘eco-design is more expensive’, to the urgency with which designers must tackle the need for sustainable design at the outset of projects, Dr Katie Beverley, Senior Research Officer, shares her expert opinion on the matter in this thought-provoking piece on the challenges of design in a more environmentally-conscious world.

In the summer, our work with Clwstwr came to an end as the project naturally closed, so we made sure to shout about its successes as we bid it a fond farewell! We took the time to share some of the ways in which we’ve been supporting innovation in the creative industries with the project. And soon we’ll be sharing a full report on the project, so keep your eyes peeled to learn more!

In an exciting development, Professor Dominic Eggbeer and Emily Parker-Bilbie of the SPD Academy launched a new course for medical personnel to understand and apply quality management system concepts to support the development and manufacture of custom medical devices. It is the first of several, so look out for more courses on the horizon to come.


We opened winter with a call-out for funded RD&I applications for the Media Cymru project, as we sought out applicants to receive a bursary to attend our funded courses on generating ideas into proposals and iterative testing and collaboration.

Over 1,200 miles away, Piotr attended the BEDA Design Forum in Lithuania and, in his role as BEDA Board Member, took the lead on many of the working groups during the week which centred around the theme The Future of Design.

2022 has been yet another momentous year for the Design Research team. We held workshops in Malta, taught medical professionals online, dived deep into Cardiff’s creative industries and led a week-long celebration of design in the heart of Lithuania...

And it’s not even over yet! Here’s to 2023 and the new challenges that await!